The Los Angeles Angels have been playing 'catch-up' on the Texas Rangers all season long. They've gotten close once or twice, only to fall back. This weekend LA gets a chance to close the gap in the AL West when it hosts Texas for three games at the Big A starting Friday night.
Friday's Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
Angels Get Chance to
Make Ground on Rangers
To set this series up, the Angels just dropped three of four
games in Detroit to finish off a 2-5 road trip. The Rangers, meanwhile, just
split two games in Oakland, and are 3-2 on their current West Coast road trip.
So heading into this series Texas, at 55-36, leads LA, at
50-43, by six games in the AL West. The Rangers also trail the Yankees by a
game and a half in the battle for the best record in the American League, while
the Angels are tied with the Tigers for the top two spots in the American League Wild-Card
Texas has actually had some problems scoring runs lately. So
far in July the Rangers are just 5-7, and averaging less than three runs per
Staff ace Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26) hits the hill Friday for
Los Angeles against lefty Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57) for Texas.
Jered Weaver recently fashioned a 20-plus innings scoreless
streak, and while that got snapped by the Yankees last Sunday, as Weaver
allowed five runs in seven innings, he still got the win in a 10-8 Angels
victory. On the season Weaver is 12-for-15 in quality starts this year,
discounting that game back in May against the Yankees in which he came out in
the first inning because of a back problem. LA is 12-3 in games he's started,
8-0 since mid-May.
However, his worst start of this year came against the
Rangers in Arlington, when he gave up eight runs in less than four innings.
Last year, in five starts against Texas, Weaver allowed 13 ER on 34 hits over 35
innings. The Angels won three of those five games.
On the other side of this arms race Holland is six-for-13 in
quality starts this season, and Texas is 8-5 in games he's started. Most
recently Holland held Seattle scoreless through 7 2/3 innings last Friday, and
in his two starts since coming off the DL he's allowed three ER in 13 1/3
This will be Holland's first start vs. the Angels this
season; last year, before the Angels had added Albert Pujols to their lineup,
he started four times vs. LA, allowing 13 ER on 32 hits through 26 1/3 innings.
The Rangers split those four games.
As of Friday AM the best MLB odds we could find on LA for
Friday night's game was the -136 at Matchbook, while Texas could be gotten at
+135 at Heritage.
The Angels could also be found at +150 giving the run and a
half on the run line at The Greek.
Finally, the total on this game is lined at either 7.5 or
eight, depending on which of the online baseball betting sites you are using.
These teams have split six games so far this season.
Including this weekend they've got 13 more games to go.
Free MLB Pick
We expect LA to make up some ground this weekend, so we'll
back Weaver and the Angels Friday night.